Call it a trend or a lifestyle makeover, but either way being vegan is a Hollywood phenomenon! Alicia Silverstone, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway are just a few of the famous faces saying “no thanks” to meat, dairy, and eggs. The vegan movement (is a vegetarian diet that excludes all animal-derived ingredients) is rapidly moving into the mainstream.
“Vegans can eat a variety of delicious dishes from Fettuccine Alfredo to Hot Fudge Sundaes – as long as everything is made without animal products. The best part is that vegan ingredients are naturally low in saturated fat, cholesterol-free, and packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients,” states vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, winner of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”
So, how is a vegan supposed to survive the holidays and not insult all their meat-loving party hosts? After all, if your family is anything like mine, they love their red meat – and the veggies are certainly not the night’s star dish. “The best way to make the host aware of your vegan diet is by offering to bring a vegan dish or dessert to the party that everyone can enjoy. That way, you’ll have a back-up dish to turn to in case your Aunt Mimi makes a vegan casserole that has “just a little bit” of pork in it. Bottom line: don’t be shy to come prepared!” suggests Chloe.
Chloe shares with Healthy Hollywood one of her favorite festive vegan dishes.
Creamy Pumpkin Penne with Crispy Sage and Toasted Pecans
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound penne, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce) can organic pumpkin OR 2 cups roasted
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups soy, almond, or rice milk
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons maple syrup
3 teaspoons sea salt
.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 fresh sage leaves, whole
.5 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.
To make the Pumpkin Cream Sauce: In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onions until soft. Add garlic and let cook a few more minutes. Remove from heat. In a blender, puree the onion mixture, pumpkin, tomato paste, nondairy milk, nutmeg, maple syrup, salt, and pepper until smooth.
To make the Crispy Sage: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet until a small piece of sage sizzles when added to the oil. Fry the remaining sage leaves 4 at a time, flipping once, until crispy (about 1 minute total). Watch the sage leaves carefully to make sure that they do not burn. Let them drain on a paper towel and season lightly with salt.
To assemble the pasta: Toss hot pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce, toasted pecans, and fresh sage. Garnish with crispy sage and dig in!
For more vegan recipes, head to www.chefchloe.com